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>> a lot of families in need this holiday. >> we hope to see you back here at 6:00 for more local news. ng say a new york commuter train was doing over 80 miles an hour into a turn right before the fatal derailment. tonight the latest on the victims, the investigation, and safety. the weight debate. is it really possible to be heavy and healthy? tonight's health news challenges what a lot of people think. mourning a star. what we are learning about the car crash that killed a movie actor best known for his work in the "fast and furious" franchise. tonight his father speaks out. special delivery. keep an eye on the sky. if amazon gets its way, will drones be used to bring us stuff? "nightly news" begins now.
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good evening. late today, federal investigators said the new york-bound commuter train that derailed this weekend was doing over 80 miles an hour going into a tight and critical turn that is meant for speeds of only 30. if these were high-speed commuter trains that would be one thing. these same track beds were used when fdr took the train north to hyde park. something went wrong sunday morning. the process of determining if it was human error or mechanical error or both is now under way. so is the grieving for the victims of this crash and recovery for the injured. we begin tonight just above the scene of the wreck with nbc's tom costello. tom, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening. behind me is the george washington bridge. down below, the tracks flooded with lights. they have removed all of the trains. the ntsb talked to the engineer on the train.
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we don't know exactly what he's told them about the crash. it's not clear that there wasn't a mechanical problem. but we can say that the ntsb is looking very closely at what the engineer did. on the tracks in the bronx, crews lifted the remains of the broken train as investigators went in for a closer look. tons of twisted steel scraped and crushed from sunday's violent crash. late today the ntsb announced the two black boxes recovered from the train have revealed a stunning development. >> the train was traveling at approximately 82 miles per hour as it went into a 30 mile an hour curve. >> reporter: 82 miles an hour. only six seconds before the train came to a complete stop. engine power was cut back. then the engineer suddenly applied full brakes. >> when i heard about the speed, i gulped. it sort of takes your breath away. >> reporter: the engineer told
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police he applied the brakes but they didn't work. investigators say they are not aware of problems with the brakes and they had worked at the nine stops before the train crashed. along this stretch of the hudson line trains can run at 70 miles per hour but they must slow dramatically down to 30 miles per hour as they make that left-hand turn. for whatever reason, that didn't happen. the engineer was in the first car as all the cars came barrelling off the tracks coming to rest within inches of the harlem river. seven cars followed by the locomotive came around the bend and flew off the tracks. as bad as it was, rail sources say had the cars gone into the river many people could have drowned. speed and driver inattention have been factors in other major rail disasters. in spain this year, 79 people died in a crash that investigators blamed on the engineer who was speeding and texting. in 2008, 25 died in california. the ntsb said that driver was also speeding and texting just before the crash.
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ntsb investigators say they are now looking at the cell phone belonging to sunday's engineer. >> we certainly will be looking at the cell phone. we have found distraction to be an issue in a number of accidents, but not all accidents by any means. >> reporter: this wreck comes two years before the federal deadline for railroads to install something called positive train control, automatic braking systems. the metro north system has been pushing for a delay talking about the cost and complexity of the systems. experts say it may have meant the difference between life and death in this case. brian? >> tom costello in new york tonight. tom, thanks. tonight, many of the survivors of the derailment are describing that awful moment, that awful scene when the train had left the track. katie tur has more on the passengers. she's with us tonight from grand central terminal. tate katie, good evening. >> reporter: hey there, brian. 75,000 people pass through these doors every day.
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for many of those that were on the train this is part of their daily commute. today we spoke with the folks who were able to walk away from the crash as they described those harrowing moments. >> we were going fast. as it hit the curve it was flying. >> there was screaming and people crying out for god, asking for their families. it was pretty grisly. >> reporter: the doctor was dozing off in the fourth car when he said suddenly people, their stuff, and even their seats started flying. >> i could feel the cars go off the tracks there. next to me there was one lady whose face was cut up, her nose was broken, bleeding profusely. >> reporter: more than 60 injured and four left dead. tonight doctors say they are treating everything from broken bones to spinal cord injuries. among the dead a member of the nbc family, audio technician and father of four, jim lovell on his way to rockefeller center to help set up for the christmas tree lighting this week. on twitter his son finn wrote,
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words can't express how much my father meant to me. it's safe to say he molded me into the man i am. donna smith's neighbors say she worked two jobs and enjoyed traveling. anh kasuk was a nurse that cared for sick children. she was headed home after an overnight shift. and james carari described as a great husband, father, and friend. for passengers on metro north, today safety was top of mind. safety experts say there are small but straightforward things to do when you're in a train. first, get in one of the middle cars. if there is an accident in the front or back you are less likely to be impacted. make sure your baggage is stored and not hanging over in any way and look for the emergency exits or pop-out windows. what might keep you safest is probably something that isn't going to happen. >> it might require precautions that would not be considered publically acceptable like seat belts.
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you have a problem on a train like this with only one or two crew members where it wouldn't be enforceable. >> reporter: mote metro north says 83 million riders a year. you shudder to think if it happened on a monday morning commute how many more lives would have been lost. >> absolutely. katie tur reporting from grand central as part of our coverage tonight. katie, thanks. we turn now to other news on this monday night. this is the big day every year for online christmas shopping. otherwise known as cyber monday. early numbers show shopping on the web is up over last year so far. over the holiday weekend the national retail federation says 141 million of us went shopping. just a slightly larger number than last year. enough to cause frenzies, even violence in some places as we saw. we learned today black friday spending was down for the first time in seven years. down 2.7% according to the early figures.
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john yang has the story for us tonight from chicago. john, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. it appears the big box store strategy of opening early on thursday may have come at the expense of black friday. we learned at brick and mortar stores on friday, traffic dr dropped 11% from last year. sales down 13%. those who did shop were focused on bargains. the average shopper spent about $407. that's about $16 less than the year before. increasingly, shoppers expect more and deeper discounts. since 2009 the number of discounts at big department stores and retail clothing chains have gone up 63%. the average discount has gone from 25% to 36%. as one analyst said, that 50% off is now the old 25% off.
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now retail chains say that's going to bite into their bottom lines, but analysts say they're probably going to have to keep offering those deep discounts right through christmas to keep the shoppers coming. because shoppers are increasingly sticking to their budgets as they worry about the economic recovery. brian? >> john yang on the economy from chicago for us tonight. thanks. big story today that came out of last night. jeff bezos, founder and head of unveiled what he hopes will be the next big thing. delivery by drones. small package delivery by drone, federal regulations permitting. no one know ifs the idea will fly. no one knows yet if that will fly, but drones have moved in to stay in a lot of places. a lot of places. in war zones overseas they carry hellfire missiles. in studios like this one, hd cameras. along with limitless possibilities. and that, for some, is the problem. janet shamlian is live for us tonight at the amazon warehouse in arizona.
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janet, good evening. >> reporter: hi, brian. as quickly as the packages are moving through tonight, amazon is making big promises about even faster delivery in the future using drones. the tech giant would seem to have the resource bus some fear safety and privacy. the video had the internet abuzz. the drone buzzing over a field, landing at a customer's home and delivering a package ordered 30 minutes earlier. amazon said it 's tested and could be ready in a few years. >> the hard part is putting in the redundancy, reliability, the systems you need to say, look, this can't land on somebody's head. >> reporter: reaction on twitter was immediate. a disaster waiting to happen. one user joked that having your stuff shot down is cooler than being stolen from your porch. >> reporter: the faa bans the commercial use of drones even as it works on regulating them by
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2015. despite the ban they are in widespread use. real estate agents use them to photograph homes. >> this allows a client to walk the entire property really from their computer. >> reporter: they have helped farmers spray crops. and hollywood is putting them to work on overseas productions from harry potter to the bond film "sky fall." the industry is just getting off the ground. predicted to be an $82 billion business in the next decade. with a camera attached the images are stunning but concerns about privacy and safety loom large. >> the technology is ready now. the issue is that we have to figure out the safety issues. we have to deconflict air space, make sure things flying in the air space are safe. >> reporter: many government agencies have gotten the okay from the faa. firefighters at the rim fire for surveillance, and miami police use them to search for missing kids. >> the technology is real and the potential is real.
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so we'll spend the next few years working with the proper government agencies to make this -- turn this into a reality. >> reporter: while many are skeptical, many bet this won't be silence fiction for long. it may be years off, but no one disputes the technology would have been put to use today, cyber monday. amazon receives 300 orders each second of this day. >> janet shamlian at the amazon warehouse. they like to call it the fulfillment center outside of phoenix. thanks. we have an update now on the website. it is now working better and faster as the white house promised it would by now. they say they know it is still far from perfect. by 5:30 this evening eastern time the website logged 750,000 visitors so far today. that's getting closer to the 800,000 daily user goal the site
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is supposed to handle. as we announced there is health news tonight about being over weight. it resolves around a critical question. can you be heavy and still healthy? new research has finding that is may surprise people. our chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman is here with more on that. nancy, good evening. >> hey, brian. this has been a conventionalism for a long time that you can be overweight and still healthy if the other checked measures from your doctor are normal. things like waist circumference, cholesterol and blood glucose. but thinking that even if you're overweight or obese and look good on paper, it's not okay. it's not easy. there is a big study tonight that says there is no such thing as healthy obesity. researchers looked at 60,000 people and found good lab values do not protect you from the effects of fat. in fact, they say fat is now an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. it can even decrease the length of your life.
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if your bmi is in the overweight category and not technically obese, can you still sit on that? the answer is no. to find out where you fall, go to our website and punch in your weight and height and see if you're at risk. no time to be complacent. no such thing as healthy obesity. time for people to look as good on the scale as they do on the piece of paper they get from their doctor. those numbers now have to jive. still ahead for us tonight, what investigators are looking at in the crash that killed a popular movie star over the weekend ruling out what some had speculated was the cause. and later, the big play. the epic finish in an epic rivalry. was it, perhaps, the greatest of all time?
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when the news surfaced that paul walker had been killed in a car crash over this past weekend a lot of people wondered whether or not drag racing had been
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involved in the deadly accident. paul walker was a car guy best known for his work in the "fast and furious" movie franchise. tonight nbc news learned more details about the crash and just how fast the car in this instance might have been traveling. our story from joe fryer in southern california. >> reporter: investigators are looking at every possibility as they try to figure out what happened after actor paul walker got into the passenger seat of this red porsche and before he and driver roger rodas were killed in a fiery crash. tonight nbc news learned it was a single car crash and did not involve drag racing. it was a single car crash. the source said the car was driving 40 to 45 miles an hour when it came to a bend in the road where the speed limit drops to 15. the driver apparently lost control. we spoke today with paul walker's father who told us what he'll miss most about his son. >> the way paul gave me a hug -- he really -- he hugged me.
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it was like -- it was special. a special thing. >> reporter: walker was deeply involved in disaster relief efforts. right before the crash he attended a fund raiser for his organization, reach out worldwide. >> his goal was to do everything he could with the blessings he had to give back to as many people as he could. >> reporter: the 40-year-old acted almost his entire life, but found world fame with the billion-dollar "fast and furious" franchise. still the crews that worked with him say he remained down to earth. >> he was a guy who would eat with the crew, joke around and be one of us. >> reporter: today fans continued to build a memorial at the scene of the crash. >> it's a chance to say good-bye. i never got to say hello. >> reporter: they their way of
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honoring an actor who played the role of good guy in life. joe fryer, nbc news, santa clarita, california. we're back in a moment with a rare event at one of the most popular places in all of mek.
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eating at applebee's is about to get less romantic. by next year they plan to have an electronic tablet at every table so customers can play games, order appetizers and desserts, and those folks in a big hurry can get the check electronically and pay from the table without the server stepping in. other chains turned to electronic ordering but we remain a nation in a hurry. if you went to the grand canyon the friday after thanksgiving to see the canyon, not so great. but what a treat it was if your goal was to take traumatic photographs. a classic weather inversion. cold air below and warm above led to a canyon filled with fog while turning black friday white. we have talked here before about hockey fans, how they're different from other fans.
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in southern alberta the calgary hitmen have their own different tradition. after the first goal by the home team, the teddy bear toss begins. once a year. holy hannah, look out. 17,000 fans threw over 25,000 teddy bears on the ice. which means many fans brought multiple bears. the best part is they are all swept up and then given to children's charities throughout canada. while it's not a manned mission, china is going to the moon. they blasted off a rocket this morning. they plan to set down a lunar rover as a precursor to their own manned mission. nothing has made this kind of soft landing on the moon since a russian craft back in 1976 after the u.s. apollo missions had all concluded. when we come back, a breathtaking finish in one of the biggest rivalries in all of sports and all of life.
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finally here tonight, at our house at least it's been an exhausting couple of days of watching nonstop football. it's not for the faint of heart. it's not easy. you have to schedule meals and family time around the games and you have to handle the stress. like the end of the alabama/auburn game.
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if i said "game," i meant to call it a college football epic. maybe the best of all time. it's already the runback seen around the world. and nbc's gabe gutierrez has our report. >> reporter: it was the moment america's jaw collectively dropped. >> that's going to keep them off the field tonight. holy cow! >> reporter: let's rewind. saturday's iron bowl between number one ranked alabama and auburn, a rivalry so intense a bama fan went to jail for poisoning historic trees on auburn's campus three years ago. on this night, the score tied at 28. one second left on the clock. bama going for the win with with an unlikely 57-yard field goal attempt. >> on the way. >> reporter: but it falls short, right into the hands of auburn cornerback chris davis. >> he's going to run it all the way back. auburn's going to win the football game! auburn's going to win the football game! >> reporter: alabama's hope of a third straight national championship gone.
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>> oh, my god, oh, my god! [ screaming ] >> whoo! >> reporter: today auburn's coach was still stunned. >> it was a little bit too crazy out there. i barely got off the field. >> reporter: in sports bars and living rooms across the country, many called it the best college football game ending ever. but was it? after all, in 1982 california beat stanford on a ridiculous play involving five laterals. then there is the miracle at michigan with colorado quarterback cordell stewart's 64-yard touchdown pass as time expires. >> that's hands down the best thing i have seen. >> reporter: today stewart, now a radio host in atlanta said auburn's win even top z his wild finish. >> to beat alabama in auburn the way they did it, they will talk about this for a very long time. >> reporter: an unbelievable
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ending on and off the field. >> oh, my god! >> reporter: dave gutierrez, nbc news, atlanta. >> we did it! >> who said it's just a game? that's our broadcast for this monday night as we start off a new week. thanks for being with us. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. good evening, thanks for joining us on this monday. i'm raj mathai. >> i'm jessica aguirre. we begin with a developing story this evening. we learned 20 minutes ago a search for a missing plane registered to a man in the south bay has been called off for the night due to bad weather. that plane was headed from baker, oregon, to butte, montana, yesterday afternoon. at around 3:30, the pilot reported an engine failure near the johnson creek airstrip about 125 miles northeast of boise, idaho. five people were onboard the
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single engine plane. all of them related. authorities say they believe the plane's owner, dale smith of san jose, was at the controls yesterday. this is a photograph of smith taken from the website of cordless communications llc where he's the ceo. rescue crews are expected to resume searching from the ground and the air when the weather finally clears. also new at 6:00, cries for help may have fallen on deaf ears and countless children left in danger. that's according to a county ordered audit that reveals anywhere from 40% to 50% of calls to the child abuse hotline in santa clara county went unanswered. nbc bay area joins us in san jose this evening. stephanie, unanswered calls. how long was this happening? >> reporter: raj, according to that audit at least for more than a year, again, according to the audit that was ordered by county officials after getting tipped off by people who work here in social services. and now one supervisor tells me that they're paying close attention.

NBC Nightly News
NBC December 2, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

News/Business. (2013) New. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 11, Auburn 7, Ntsb 5, Paul Walker 4, Brian 3, Alabama 3, California 3, Nbc 2, Tom Costello 2, Faa 2, John Yang 2, New York 2, Joe Fryer 2, San Jose 2, Atlanta 2, Chicago 2, Gabe Gutierrez 1, Chris Davis 1, Cordell Stewart 1, Dave Gutierrez 1
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